Idolize has winged Paws

Idolize – the sport’s ‘super mum’ and ‘Australian Idol’ – resumed her love affair with Wentworth Park on Saturday night.

IDOLIZE winning a heat of the Paws Of Thunder
IDOLIZE winning a heat of the Paws Of Thunder Picture: GRNSW

And once again, it was pure greyhound racing romance! Oh, the 'chemistry'… Mills & Boon couldn't have scripted it any better.

Trained by Peter Presutto, Idolize ($3.30F) booked a berth in her third Group 1 final at 'Wenty' with a scintillating 29.52sec all-the-way victory in a Paws Of Thunder heat (520m).

"It'll be catch-me-if-you-can… She needs to do what she does best and that's ping the lids."

It was her sixth win, with one second, from eight starts at the tricky Glebe circuit.

However, it still leaves Presutto scratching his head on why Idolize has such an affinity for Wentworth Park. In his own words, he says "I just can't put a finger on it".

Perhaps it will always remain one of those sporting conundrums.

Idolize (Jan '20 My Redeemer x Hightan), who turns four years old on January 29, won the 2022 National Futurity and 2023 Million Dollar Consolation and finished sixth in the 2022 Golden Easter Egg – the only time she's been unplaced at WP.

"I actually thought she would feel the pinch over the latter stages," Presutto said after her amazing heat win.

"But I knew she'd improve from a trial leading into the Paws Of Thunder series because, after the Melbourne Cup final, she hadn't done a lot of work.

"I thought that's the best she's ever gone when I looked up at the clock. I was rapt, I reckon it's her best run yet."

And Presutto says Idolize should be even better off for the heat run.

"It had been a rush to get her ready, but she's pulled up a treat. If she can improve in the final, then they'll need to improve. If she's out in front, they'll need the luck to chase her down.

"It'll be catch-me-if-you-can. She needs to do what she does best and that's ping the lids."

Idolize ($3.30), who will occupy Box 4 in the $75,000 to-the-winner final, is on the second line of betting behind Victorian compatriot Dutch Riot ($2.40 – Box 1) – trained by Colin Bermingham – who was the fastest heat winner in 29.51sec.

In depicting the secret of her racing longevity, Presutto says Idolize is "genetically pretty sound and healthy".

"And I think the eight months off during whelping that litter (1 male and 2 females by former superstar Shima Shine on February 5 last year) probably did her the world of good. Having that time off, she's freshened up and come back stronger.

"She's a great, competitive chaser and can stand up to the pressure at the highest level."

Presutto informed that, all being well, Idolize – now a five-time G1 finalist who also won the 2021 G2 Laurels Classic – will continue on to next month's Australian Cup Carnival.

"Hopefully she gets a start in the (G1) Temlee invitational – an event in which she finished runner-up to Aston Rupee in 2022. She may even have another crack at the Golden Easter Egg."

Meanwhile, Victorian staying sensation Zoha Bale certainly enhanced his chances of snaring a $40,000 first prize in the G2 Summer Distance Plate (720m) at Wentworth Park on Saturday night with an impressive Prelude win last weekend.

Trained by Mark Delbridge, Zoha Bale ($4.80) semaphored 41.89sec.

And a night earlier at Wenty, flying Victorian femme Aunt Virginia ($2.20F) – trained by John Paraskevas – qualified for the G1 National Futurity final (520m) with a 29.59sec (Best) heat success.

The 'Big V' will also be represented by the Jeff Britton-trained Groovebird who finished second in her heat.

Aunt Virginia (Box 5) and Groovebird (Box 6) are $3.00EF and $34 respectively on Sportsbet's market for the $75,000 to-the-winner final.